Essay On Empathic Listening
When a conversation is tense or difficult it is even more important to listen first and .
Otherwise, your chances of being heard by the other person may be very poor. In learning to better coordinate our life activities with the life activities of others, we would do well to resist two very popular (but terrible) models of communication: arguing a case in court and debating.
In courts and debates, each side tries to make its own points and listens to the other side only to tear down the other side’s points.
Since the debaters and attorneys rarely have to reach agreement or get anything done together, it doesn’t seem to matter how much ill will their conversational style generates.
, “studies in labor-management negotiations demonstrate that the time required to reach conflict resolution is cut in half when each negotiator agrees, before responding, to repeat what the previous speaker had said.” (my emphasis) When people are upset about something and want to talk about it their capacity to listen is greatly diminished.
Trying to get your point across to a person who is trying to express a strong feeling will usually cause the other person to try even harder to get that emotion recognized.
Your conversation partners will also be more likely to acknowledge your position and experience, even if they don’t sympathize with you.Other suggestions about listening more responsively: As a general rule, do not just repeat another person’s exact words. But in cases where people actually scream or shout something, sometimes you may want to repeat a few of their exact words in a quiet tone of voice to let them know that you have heard it just as they said it.If the emotion is unclear, make a tentative guess, as in “So it sounds like maybe you were a little unhappy about all that…” The speaker will usually correct your guess if it needs correcting.…still leaves you with the option of saying yes or no to a request.…still leaves you with the option of saying more about the matter being discussed.Listening responsively is always worthwhile as a way of letting people know that you care about them.Our conversation partners do not automatically know how well we have understood them, and they may not be very good at asking for confirmation.For example, saying, “You sound really happy [or sad] about that,” etc.As you listen to the important people in your life, give summaries of the experiences they are talking about and name the want or feeling that appears to be at the heart of the experience. In order to get more of your conversation partner’s attention in tense situations, pay attention first: listen and give a brief restatement of what you have heard (especially feelings) before you express your own needs or position.The kind of listening recommended here separates acknowledging from approving or agreeing .